Obama Gun Control? Economic Implications of Banning Firearms

Gun shows are big business in the United States – would gun control hurt the economy? Image by glasgows

Gun Trade, Production, and Fees

Although the retail power of gun-purchasers is vast, the employment opportunities offered by the industry also make up a significant contribution to the economy.

There are around 130,000 licensed firearms dealers in the US – to put this figure into perspective, there are more than 32 times the number of firemarms traders across the country than there are WalMart stores, and there are nearly 12 times more gun dealers than there are Starbucks coffee shops.

Retailers and traders aside, the gun production industry is also a key provider of employment. W

ith up to 5.4 million guns manufactured annually, and demands for the export of US-produced guns increasing, firearms manufacturers are by no means providing negligible numbers of jobs.

If non-military gun production were reduced, the impact of the resulting unemployment would need to be identified and managed in order to avoid an impact on already unsteady unemployment levels.

Reduced spending and employment may be enough to cause the government to drag their heels when considering revising gun policy, but they are not the only financial factors that could possibly be the driving force behind the lack of decisive action when it comes to tackling the issue. Tax revenue alone from firearms purchases totalled over $9.5 million dollars last year. Firearms licences are another source of revenue – depending on the state in which you live, they cost between $5 and $180, funds which can really add up for local governments.

Obama Gun Ban and the Economy

Gun-related tragedies in the States such as the Sandy Hook murders bring calls for tighter controls around firearm licensing and supply for American citizens, but will President Obama implement any sort of gun control measures despite the economic implications? It remains to be seen whether the government can soften the economic impact of gun bans while meeting the demand of many who want to get rid of all firearms in an attempt to see the end of increasing gun crime.


GunPolicy. Gun Facts, Figures, and the Law. (2012). Accessed December 17, 2012.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms. Firearms Commerce in the United States, Annual Statistical Update. (2012). Accessed December 17, 2012.

Kelleher, J. The FBI performed a record number of instant background checks on would-be firearm buyers in 2011. (2012). Reuters. Accessed December 17, 2012.

© Copyright 2012 Amanda John, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Science
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  1. andrew says

    Seriously, the constitution is dead in america, it is just a joke, when ron paul lost to mitt romney I began making plans to go back to Italy……I stand by that

  2. Justin says

    Ok first off this is bs…I’m 22 years old I have my concealed carry. Been shooting guns since I could walk, in the marine corps that I’m a certified marksmen instructor, I agree weed out the dumbasses that don’t deserve to carry a gun that’s gonna destroy someone’s family, but to me with my background my training I’ve done wouldn’t u want me to be one of the first person to be carrying a gun around that could potentially save ur or someone’s else’s families life??? I think it’s ridiculous to ban weapons we will lose money in taxes…money the the us cannot afford to lose, and leaves people like me with no options to bare arms and protect the innocence! It’s really bugs me to think I could run into that one dumbass out there that finds a gun from the hood and shoots up me and my wife when I can’t protech here and she can’t protect me(which she has her ccl too that shoots damn near as good as I do…just my side hopefully someone else will agree oooorahhh and semper fi

  3. Anna Macarthur says

    The age old argument that guns do not kill people (only people kill people) is purposely avoiding the issue. Guns are weapons made to kill. People are animals who act emotionally, lose their reason and make choices to kill. Any sport that involves guns, involves the simulation of killing something or hitting a target the same way you have to hit the head or heart of an animal. It is all essentially about killing. Why does everyone in America feel the need to bear arms and be empowered to easily kill another person? Having knives to stab someone is indeed another example of misusing a weapon, but knives are in fact tools – sharp tools that can cause some damage no doubt – but essential in households around the world to prepare food etc. Guns, on the other hand, have no use outside of killing or pretending to kill. In Australia, we were disarmed many years ago after a gun massacre killed over 30 people to enormous outrage and fear. Most people thought that we were now going to be vulnerable to criminals and deranged pyschopaths that trawl the streets with nothing to defend ourselves, our property and loved ones. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the whole country was disarmed except legitimate sportsmen and farmers, it became extremely difficult to prove you were an acceptable candidate. Consequently, there are far fewer shootings and violent episodes than you have in the US, population differences accounted for. Every civilised country around the world has far fewer shootings than the US, by the tens of thousands. We’re not all nicer people without racial, political and economic struggles. We just don’t settle the argument by killing each other with guns. Robberies are more likely to end in police arrests than an array of dead bodies. Isn’t that keeping our priorities straight? Taking away the bullets sounds like a good idea, but why have the bloody gun in the first place if you can’t shoot it? Doesn’t this self perpetuating nonsense with an economic drive behind it seem completely unethical and baseless? Maybe more American’s need to travel the globe and see how other Western countries get by without guns and then look at the stats one more time before crapping on about guns don’t kill people. Maybe not by themselves, but they’re purposely designed to be used by humans to kill, which is just as bad.

  4. says

    Do we need gun control or is that we need self-control?
    Under normal circumstances a weapon is totally harmless. A knife or a gun can cause no harm unless in the hands of someone. In fact, almost any tool can become a weapon depending on whose hand it falls into.

    I am in no way promoting or supporting the return to the ” wild wild west” days, but I strongly support the 2nd ammendment. However, what we should look at is making arms less accessible to unstable individuals and criminals. Responsible parents should never allow their kids access or if possible never let them be aware that they have firearms in the home.

    I say make it easy for good, conscious, law-abiding citizens to get firearms license and thus easier access to firearms.
    Protection of family, self and property is paramount to every American so let’s protect ourselves.

  5. chris says

    Do you people who want gun control understand that the countries around this world that are controlled by dictators, the governments that control by marshal law, the countries where terrorists are groomed are countries that do not allow civilians the right to bear arms?
    Raise your children in a loving household.
    Teach them right from wrong.
    Give them religion!
    Teach them that they are accountable for their actions.
    Keep your guns!
    A killer will kill regardless of if he has a gun or not.
    It is up to the parents……

  6. jkr says

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we all reaslized how fortunate we are that these things do not occur more often.
    Why are we so eager to judge? Each other? Everything?
    We all have opinions and rarely agree. If we disagree that does not mean I am an enemy, does it?
    Maybe it is just drama. Are we now simply a nation of comflict and drama?
    It breaks my heart that some individuals can do such dispicable things. It doesn’t matter as much WHY as the fact that someone is capable of such egregious acts.
    In fact, we should punish the criminal (wrongdoer) and stop trying to blame something else.
    Who knows all the factors that contributed to this young mans mental state, whether he used a gun, car, fire, homemade explosive, etc. Maybe he was abused as a child, felt left out, alone, or simply had mental issues.
    None of this changes the fact that HE made a descision and chose to act on it. We all, at some time or another, have had bad thoughts, ideas or felt a certain way.
    In the end, WE CHOOSE to act on, on not to act on, those thoughts, ideas, ect.
    So please, do not punish everyone for the actions and poor decisions of a few.
    Wow, don’t think I am like every other person you have met – who is a certain color or nationality.
    We can only be responsible for our own actions.
    Maybe we should all start!
    Fast food didn’t make us fat, we chose our dietary regimen.
    Teachers and schools didn’t make us illiterate, we chose not to pay attention or study.
    It is fair that we NOT receive a prize for NOT winning the contest.
    We do not need to be praised or coddled, and do not need to be the best at anything.
    We are not poor because someone else took what we deserve.
    Happiness comes from within. Why do we look to things outside of ourselves?
    Two people can have the exact same thing happen to them, and react totally differently. I.e. one desires revenge and other forgives.
    Man has been killing man since the beginning. Sometimes, I wonder if that is what we are really GOOD at.
    And, since the beginning – man has been blaming someone or something else for his actions.
    I can only wonder what I would feel like being the parent of one of these precious children that were murdered. But, I can write them letters, cards, send donations, pray for them or be active in any way possible.
    I am not the murderer, I did not use my gun(s) for crime – do not punish me or attempt to take away my rights, I am not the criminal.
    Want to have an opinion, want to make a diference – then do something. Teach your children right and wrong. Forget fair, there is no such thing – there is only compromise.
    Be honest, good, be merciful when appropriate, do not hastily judge, show wisom in all things, and punish evildoers according to their crime(s).

  7. m says

    i really think you americans lost the plot..12.000 homicides caused by people with guns
    speak for themselves.
    ban all firearms,if somebody wants to go berzerk,he has to use,lets say a knife,its more than unlikely that
    bloody 26 people die…

  8. malcolm says

    My Two Cents…..THINK!
    I am not for or against gun control. However gun control does nothing other than force those who want them to find them from other sources. I’m not referring to the honest person who would like to own one, but to the crooks, gang bangers and just dishonest people in general.
    To those against gun control: I’m all for having weapons to protect yourself, however why do you have to own a gun that looks like something picked up in a war zone. Rifles should look like a rifle, not an AK47, then you can visually see that it is not a automatic weapon.
    To those of you who wonder, I do own a gun. Yes, it is locked in a safe, not a gun safe, but one that is bolted to the concrete floor. There are no shells for it and is kept because that is the only thing I have to remember my uncle by.
    These children died because of one person who wasn’t right in some respect or the other. Did he have access to a gun, yes. Did he know how to shoot it, yes. Was he a sick individual, most likely. If this had been a gang slaying, there would have been a lot less news on it and gun control probably wouldn’t even be talked about, mainly because anyone with any knowledge would know that gun control is useless except for the law abiding citizen. Gun Control….only if you can really control them.

  9. Tim says

    The apparant problem to me was that the shooter was an avid user of violent video games, his mother was a paronoid doomsday prepper, who took the time to teach her disadvantaged son how to shoot automatic rifles and pistols. I’m sorry, but you can’t raise a child correctly by exposing him/her to violent video games where the user begins to believe that he/she will be magically reincarnated as some sort of hero and no harm is really done. Another problem is that the budget for mental health treatment is dramatically shrinking due to the economy, and the environment of society being “Politically Correct”.. Schools are under immense pressure to push students through the system, and problem children are passed on to the next level. Unfortunetly, the next level of society is the streets, or living at home with a parent, playing video games, contemplating some scheme to get attention.
    One radical solution might be mandatory conscription into the Armed Forces. Have every student, upon the age of 18 do 2 years in the armed forces, with 1 year of that time to be served overseas. Teach our kids firsthand the freedoms and libertys that we enjoy here in the USA are for the most part, taken for granted.
    If politicians think that gun control is the answer, then look no farther that Mexico, where no citizen can own a gun bigger than a 22, and you have to justify what said weapon is being used for. Look at how the drug cartels are taking advantage of the gun control laws the government places on law abiding citizens.

  10. Dave says

    Oh yeah, that’s right. Sticter gun legislation will ruin jobs. GOP and their stupid job crap. If you are so worried about jobs, then lets legalize dope. It will create tons of jobs to offset the jobs lost due to gun legislation. Stupid GOP and their sick child NRA should be declared as terrorist organizations and banned.

  11. Steven Sullivan says

    Obama hasn’t, isn’t, and will not be calling for a general ban on firearms. This article is based on an idiotic straw man.

  12. John M says

    Interestingly crime statistics indicate that guns are only used only 1-3% more often in violent crimes and assaults than knives and other weapons. The only incidents in which guns are almost ALWAYS used are during robberies. To me, robbery connotes a professional criminal, rather than someone who may have lost control fora period of time. And as someone pointed out above, gun legislation is not going to dissuade someone from breaking the law when it is their primary intention to do so.

    I am sure everyone has read that most felons are more concerned with encountering an armed citizen than a police officer. And every officer I have ever conversed with on the matter has been a believer in private gun ownership.

    Most frighteningly, if citizens cannot own guns, it means that only the government will own guns. One of the great hallmarks in every dictatorship is that before they came to power they instituted a no gun policy.

    Also, as someone pointed out already, this most recent tragedy occurred in an area with relatively strict gun control laws in place, as have been most of the recent incidents such as Colorado. See also: Mexico. Has VERY strict laws regarding guns. How safe is Mexico now?

    • Gerda Taro says

      I did want to remark: I am on the fence with this issue and don’t think neither I nor anybody here has the intellectual clout to really think they know the answer, but I see a mediocre point when I see one. Mexico pales economically in comparison to the US, doesn’t have nearly the same law enforcement capability as we do, and is on the verge of being a failed state. Most of the firearms that they have are trafficked from the US, not produced domestically, which is obviously not the case for us. The comparison doesn’t seem to work, at all. Bad. Very bad.

  13. Ning says

    So you are saying, wait, should we really stop innocent people being killed? We are making money from it!

    I don’t care if the economy can handle it, I’d rather lose my job than for those innocent kids to be killed.

  14. HansJurgen says

    Hey Obummer, why don’t you ask all dem gangstas in dat Chicago town of yours to turn in their guns. Yah, good luck.

  15. Chris says

    There are more deaths every year caused by people texting while driving than being shot. Should we ban cars? How about cell phones? There are plenty of laws against texting and driving, but it doesn’t stop people from doing it. The only people that will obey a no-gun law are the responsible ones. Crazy, deranged people will find a way to get their hands on whatever they think they need. Thereby, leaving those who are responsible enough to manage having a firearm (i.e. gun locks, gun safes, etc.) to bring a knife to a gun fight. I think it sucks that anyone could conceive of something like what happened in CT. I’m as sick and saddened by the violence as anyone. I just don’t think rash decisions like banning guns is a valid idea. We just need tighter restrictions.

  16. John M says

    Patrick what “situation” is going to dry up? If you are referring to school shootings then it seems to me that our “parenting” in this country is the “heart of the matter” as you phrased it.

    Restricting ammunition to be used at ranges only is a useless idea. If ammo is only available at a range then guns will essentially only be useful at a range, making private gun ownership a senseless concept. If ammunition is only available at a range, you might as well not own a gun, just go to the range and rent one. This is NOT what the founding fathers had in mind. A rental gun is NOT protection against tyranny.

    And the home made ammunition you are referring to was the cast ball ammo, which is a simpler manufacturing process than modern ammunition. They still relied on powder sold by foreign merchants. Besides, you dont really want every Tom Dick and Harry gun nut making their own specialty ammo in their garage do you? That sounds a lot worse than people keeping govt regulated ammo in their house, and is likely to start some sort of black market trade.

    I am not saying there isn’t a solution out there, but I don’t think that either of your ideas are good.

  17. ezra says

    I find it hard to believe that you can place a price tag on the lives of children. Slavery was also an economic imperative but we have managed to live without it. It did, however take a constitutional amendment. Perhaps we need another amendment to balance the gun rights of our citizens with the safety of the public at large.

  18. Brian Shaw says

    Think about this for a moment. The United States trains the best military to protect our freedoms abroad. We have police to protect our local freedoms, but unfortunately they don’t have enough resources to cover the entire country. We have Air Marshalls to protect us while on travel in flight.

    Why don’t we create a unit of authority that would train individuals as certified public safety officers? These individuals would hold no additional power unless they were taking part of a public shooting emergency where a precious life could be lost and where every second counts. In that type of event, the public safety officer would be empowered to assist with lethal force in taking down the public threat.
    We have millions of concealed gun licensed American’s like myself who would gladly volunteer for that duty, no right, to protect other citizens caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. All we need tactical training in resolving public shooting conflicts.

    One man’s opinion could be another man’s solution… Think about it Mr. President ;)

  19. James Davis says

    Sure wouldn’t want to upset any small portion of the almighty U.S. economy, just to spare a few thousand lives a year.

  20. michael says

    honestly, why not bring back the death penalty? people would think twice before shooting someone, or killing them for that matter, you see the government thinks you can just lock them up, and let them think about it, or that a small room with mattress walls will suffice for a KILLER or a PSYCHO, or a RAPIST. but these simply dont work, the best thing to do to these people is to kill them, that man sent countless people into eternity without any hope of salvation, now why cant he join them?

  21. Sabina Alberti says

    Any mentally deranged person without access to guns can easily make a bomb from instructions on the internet. It is a wonderful pipedream to think we can somehow avoid violence by banning guns!

  22. john says

    Guns do not kill people. People kill people. Last time I checked a person had to pull the trigger to shoot a gun. guns are not the problem. People are. If we just think about the way we teach our kids and make sure they know how to safely use a firearm and not to shoot people the problem will go away. If we take guns away the people who use them wrongly will still find a way to get them. Drugs are illegal and look at how many people still get a hold of it. Banning guns is not the solution. Common sense is.

  23. nick says

    Trevor your an idiot, did you not hear about the elementary school where 30 some children were stabbed that same day. its the people not the weapons

    • Gerda Taro says

      But none of the kids who were stabbed died. Again, while both are really henious (sp?) acts, that particular comparison is like trying to compare getting punched once to getting stabbed once. The magnitude of difference between life and death is a pretty sizable one.

  24. Brian says

    A sad, deranged person with little hope for the future creates a disaster to make themselves bigger than their problems. This young man chose to be bigger in death than in life, and this horrible tragedy is a result of failure to understand and read sings of his spiral.

    Main statement: Using this tragedy as a platform to push your preexisting suppositions is a sick and dishonest way to operate. Gun control did not prevent this crisis; Conn. has some of the toughest. We need further thought into why this upcoming generation is spiraling. Glorification of violence? Demonization of masculinity? Stigma surrounding mental illness? Research and correct these issues before pursuing the dismantling of my liberty.

  25. Frank Redd says

    gun control is the insane belief that people who would willingly rape, murder, maim, kill, and steal would obay a law that says they cant own or use a gun. I can see it now, “Where you going Bob?” Im out of work and I am pissed off at the world! I am gonna go rob a bank! Not with that gun youre not. Guns are illegal Bob. Oh thanks for reminding me Ed I guess I will just use a screw driver then.”

  26. Ron Bockman says

    I just don’t understand why it is so hard for people to see that it was a deranged young man who committed this act with someone else’s guns and that the guns are secondary to the issue. What kind of legislation could remove guns from American society? If this unstable person had not stolen his mother’s guns, if the mother had the guns secured, he would have found another way to subject us to a tragedy.

  27. Trevor says

    I think President Obama should take all fire arms and put them in one container and send to the bottom of the **** ocean and that The Us should just convert back to Swords Shields and Bows cause then at least if someone were to swing a sword at you you would have two options swing back or dodge cant dodge a *** bullet now can we after the tragedy in CT i say we Americans cannot clearly think before we do so why should we have guns if u just use them to kill ***** 6 year old

  28. brad fuller says

    People who have flipped thier lid HAVE the determination and WILL attain and procure all they nees to accomplish that goal whether legal or illegal. I ask you now would you rather have access to what you will need to protect your family? Or perhaps you would rather not be able to afford it yourself.

  29. Steve Q says

    I cant take you seriously when you get your gun control ideas from a Chris Rock skit. Put an age limit of 25 on all gun purchases to weed out the people with psychotic breaks and also put stricter rules on locking up weapons.

    The mother of this Lanza boy is just as responsible for this shooting as the boy. She taught a mentally ill child how to use these weapons and prompted fear into his already fearful brain.

  30. says

    Time to get to heart of issue and make communities Bullet Free since guns do not kill people, but bullets can make a serious hole in anyone. Stop the easy access to ammunition and let the gun nuts have their stuff but with nothing to shoot outside of the licensed ranges. |The 2nd amendment says Right to Bear Arms(meaning guns) since in early days most patriots made their own munitions. So get the bullets out of our homes and communities and watch this situation dry up.

    Or add a 500% excise tax on ammunition. That will do some good.

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